Sigh… I guess when you live a large part of your life online and your business depends on it you are more likely to be hacked, huh? I am sick of it! I have already suffered through having my Paypal debit card hacked multiple times. And now someone decided to hack my Skype account. This may not sound like a big deal, but it can be… and here's why.
I created my Skype account so long ago that I do not remember. I use it mainly only for IM'ing. Occasionally I may video chat, but not much. But apparently at some point (2009 I think) along the way I decided to test out the calling features of Skype so I connected my Paypal account and bought $10 in Skype credit. It appears that I never used it (that I can remember). On March 12th of this year I got a Paypal notification that I had paid $10 to Skype. My initial reaction was “What??” But after investigating it appeared that Skype credit is setup to automatically refill when the balance reaches below $2. I figured that it was just finally below $2 from 2009 and that they finally decided to renew. I was busy at the time so I shrugged it off and decided that I would look into it more later.
The next morning, March 13th, I woke up to the following email from Skype:
I also had 5 other emails from Skype thanking me for buying Skype credit. I immediately logged into Paypal and saw 4 more $10 charges to Skype. So, this means that they took $50 from my account. (@^(*() But, this should be easy to fix right? Skype obviously knows that the charges are fraudulent since they locked my account and alerted me. So, I really should not have to do anything major, right? I mean… they obviously know that there is a problem. But… it has not been easy.
When I returned home from taking the kids to school I filled out the recovery form (pictured below), and my account was unlocked immediately. I clicked the link that they sent me to recover my account. That brings up this “account recovery form”:
I then logged into Skype.com to investigate just what the heck was going on. Apparently someone in the United Kingdom hacked into my Skype account and setup a Skype phone number. They then set it to forward all Skype calls to +237 94023064 in Cameroon. Yep, I'm sharing their phone number here. Call them up for me would ya? There were a total of 31 incoming calls. They kept getting calls, the Skype credit kept getting used up, and it kept renewing and charging my Paypal account. I then submitted a support ticket to request a refund for the fraudulent charges. This form asks for a lot of information, slightly different from the Account Recovery Form. This included the date that you started your Skype account (who actually knows that?), the names of 5 friends from your friends list (easy), and all the other info listed below.
Would you believe that I am STILL waiting for my refund?? After I submitted that form I got another email from Skype:
Greetings from Skype!
I understand the inconvenience that this issue has caused you. However, after checking the verification responses that you have provided us, we were not able to verify your account.
Please understand that it is our priority to secure our customers and their accounts. The verification form is our main tool to authenticate the account. We only need a few answers correct for us to verify your account. Please fill out the Verification Form again as completely and accurately as you can so we may check your account. Please do not leave any question blank. Please understand that we are not able to disclose or change any information on the account unless it has been verified.
If your account has no active subscriptions or saved payment method, I highly suggest you to create a new account.
We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Seriously?? You could not verify my account? So why did my account get unlocked within minutes of my submitting the Account Recovery form? Sigh.. I filled it out AGAIN. And guess what??? I got another #^&^ email asking me to fill out the Account Recovery form!!! Of course I had done that already, and my account was already recovered and unlocked. Now I'm just absolutely frustrated! Of course Skype has no support phone number, so I have to suffer through trying to contact these people online. I poked around and found the live chat support. I explained my issue to the rep, and I was told (again) that my information could not be verified and that I needed to fill out the same form (again) and that I would then hear from someone higher up within 24 hours. I filled it out again while still chatting with the rep, submitted it, and told the rep that I received another email that my account was released. Right before she signed off she sent me a link saying “Here is the link to the verification form just in case you don't have it.” And the link was to the long form above… which is a different form than that linked in my email from Skype. Confused? Believe me… I was too.
5 days later I am still waiting. I even tried reaching out to @SkypeSupport on Twitter. I could see that it is a VERY active account, they were responding to others right away. But, 2 days later no one has responded to me. I tweeted them again today, and I am still waiting for a reply.
I am beyond frustrated right now. I want my $50 back! I am going to open a case with Paypal to dispute the charges while I wait. I was trying not to go that route since I thought (hoped) that this was such an obvious case (per Skype themselves) that I would likely get help and a refund right away.
I have to say that I have been very disappointed with this process. I will let you know if I ever get my $50 refunded. I recommend that you check your Skype account now. If your Paypal account is attached, and you don't need it to be, remove it. And while you are at it make sure that your account password is not easy.